Brits reveal the most bizarre excuses used to escape a social obligation this Christmas


  • Almost 2 out of 5 (38%) Brits feel obligated to attend social gatherings during the festive season, even if they don’t want to, new research from SIXT UK unveils
  • Some of the most questionable excuses used to get away from social gatherings include ‘I need to wash my hair’, ‘my home is flooded’ and ‘I need to clean my granny’s gutters’
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) are more likely to create an excuse over the Christmas period than any other time of year

With the festive season in full swing, social gatherings are plenty, but it’s not all joy and merriment, new research from SIXT UK reveals. Almost 2 in 5 (38%) Brits feel obligated to attend Christmas get-togethers, even if they would rather not go. And those who make their early exit have revealed the most questionable excuses used – and ‘I need to wash my hair, ‘my home is flooded’ and ‘I need to clean my granny’s gutters’ are among the worst fibs.

Turns out, socialising during the festive season is not always the most wonderful time of the year, as a quarter (23%) reveal they are more likely to find an excuse to leave a party early over the Christmas period than any other time. Despite the love of Christmas music (38%), festive-themed food and drink (48%) and that everyone is up for a jolly good time (52%), some partygoers find the crowds (58%), high prices (48%) and the fact it’s simply exhausting (49%) reasons to flee. 

While some craft creative excuses, others leave early without even saying goodbye. Those aged 18 – 24 years old (35%) are the top culprits when it comes to leaving a Christmas bash without telling anyone, otherwise known as a ‘French exit’. But if you’re over 65 years old (14%), you’re not a fan of secretly sneaking away. 

When it comes to the occasion, Christmas work parties are the most common gathering to find an excuse to get out of (44%), with 16 % admitting they’d prefer not to socialise with their colleagues but do it for the free food and drinks. Neighbourhood get-togethers (20%) are next on the list, while a guilty 17% would even make excuses for a gathering with relatives.

For some more organised than others, almost two in five (39%) have lined up an excuse in advance to aid their getaway from a gathering they don’t want to be at, such as asking someone to ring them during the event or mentioning they’re unwell in the lead-up. 30% of Brits would be satisfied with only attending three to four gatherings this December, but don’t count on them sticking it out to the end as 35% admit they will leave early from half of them.

Managing Director of SIXT UK, Andrew Smith, commented: We’ve all been there – stuck at a social gathering when we’d rather be at home in front of the TV. Even if it is the most wonderful time of the year, there are some obligations that leave us scrambling for an escape. The funny, bizarre and downright brilliant excuses used to flee a festive function have now been revealed. And if you’re in need of a quick getaway this year we have all your mobility needs covered.”

“If you’re planning to leave early from a Christmas party, we understand. And a quick escape from any situation couldn’t be easier than with the SIXT app, offering a premium fleet and thousands of branches across the country, whether it’s car rental, car sharing, ride-hailing, e-scooters and car subscriptions.”

This year, SIXT opened the doors to three brand new branches in London’s Canary Wharf, Heathrow Terminal 2 and Nottingham, reopened its Hammersmith location, and with even more branches set for 2024, drivers will have the freedom and flexibility to always be on the move when they need to.    

The top 15 excuses used to flee a festive function:

  1. I’ve got an early start tomorrow
  2. I’ve got work tomorrow
  3. I had a late night last night
  4. I’ve got a tummy ache / having ‘toilet troubles’
  5. I have a family emergency
  6. I’ve double booked myself and realised I’m supposed to be somewhere else
  7. I want to beat the traffic
  8. I don’t want to spend money on the food and drink
  9. I’ve got a work emergency
  10. The babysitter needs me to come home
  11. My elderly parent can’t be left for long alone
  12. My pet is unwell
  13. My mobile phone is about to run out of battery
  14. There is a programme on TV I want to watch
  15. My partner/housemate is locked out of the house

SIXT is on the hunt to find the best (or worst) fibs the nation has made to get out of a social obligation at Christmas. Fibbers can share their excuses via [email protected] or SIXT’s social channels to win the ultimate ‘getaway’: SIXT will arrange a microlight experience to be the winner’s excuse to get away from a social obligation between March and May 2024.

For more information about SIXT’s products, services, and availability, visit the website here:

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